I spent most of my time with Alice, playing with her, going places together, speaking French (and English). It's true, there's nothing cuter than a little girl speaking French (several people told me that.) She taught me more than I taught her, that's for sure. She became my little buddy. Sometimes, we'd be eating at the dinner table, and someone would say something, and I'd turn to 5 year-old Alice for clarification if I didn't understand. She was wonderful. Her whole family was kind, funny, and took care of me. They even took me to Spain (Ibiza island) for a couple of weeks on their vacation at the grandparents' summer villa. Wow. What an experience. There were times of frustration, feeling "cooped up"--most college students used to being independent and on the go (I think) would have a hard time having to stay home most days with little kids. But all in all, it was great. The de Liedekerkes and I have kept in touch, and it has been cool seeing the kids grow.
This is a photo from Claire's wedding last summer. Alice is now 16 or so (far left; Claire is the bride, then her husband, and Pierre). I wish I had photos of when I was with them, but they're all at Dad's house in Hawaii. So, did the experience help me learn how to raise children? Yes, it did. It was only for a couple of months, and so much happened in the years to follow before I would have my own kids, but I draw from my experiences from that summer quite often.